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(Sunday, December 19th)
Final Score: Detroit 23, Tampa Bay 20 (OT)
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Dave Rayner drilled a 34-yard field goal with 9:51 left in overtime, and the Detroit Lions snapped their NFL-record 26-game road losing streak with a 23-20 win over Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium.
The Lions' overtime push came mostly on the ground as Maurice Morris rushed four times for 35 yards and ended the game with 109 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
Drew Stanton was solid in his fourth career start for the Lions (4-10), completing 23-of-37 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown.
"I'm just so proud of this team and how we're still fighting even with where our record is," Stanton said. "We don't even look at it. We go in every week with the approach that we're going to win it."
He also conducted a 58-yard game-tying drive at the end of regulation, with Rayner's 28-yard field goal knotting the score at 20 as time expired.
The Lions were able to build off a rare NFC North victory over Green Bay last Sunday and have now won back-to-back games for the first time since 2007 when they started the season 6-2.
"Getting a win on the road is important," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "That's two weeks in a row against teams that are battling for the playoffs."
Josh Freeman looked to have completed his sixth fourth quarter comeback by charging the Buccaneers (8-6) down the field for a Connor Barth 26-yard field goal with 1:39 left in the game. But Detroit came back and the Bucs' loss put them on the outside looking in at the final NFC wild card playoff spot.
"It's not the death of us, we're still mathematically in it," Freeman said. "Hopefully we'll be in the exact same circumstances next week, it's just that there's not as many games left."
Freeman was 21-of-32 for 251 yards and a touchdown, while LeGarrette Blount rushed for 110 yards and a TD on 15 attempts.
Calvin Johnson ended with 10 catches for 152 yards, including an acrobatic, toe-dragging catch for 12 yards and a first down that put Detroit on the 25- yard line in overtime.
Morris carried the ball three times after that for short yardage, setting up Rayner's game-winning field goal.
The overtime win was made possible by Stanton's 4-for-8 performance for 58 yards during the last drive in regulation. He hooked up with Johnson for 23 yards to put the Lions on Tampa Bay's 45-yard line.
Five plays later, Stanton went to Johnson once more in the end zone, but the ball was tipped incomplete and the Lions settled for Rayner's game-tying field goal.
On the previous drive, Freeman connected with Mike Williams for 13 yards and drew Detroit offsides with a hard count on a 3rd-and-1 play, setting up a Bucs first down on the 15-yard line.
But the Lions' red zone defense held and Barth hit a 26-yarder to cap an 11- play, 57-yard drive for a 20-17 lead.
Detroit trailed 14-10 at halftime, but came out of the break moving the chains for three first downs. Morris busted through the middle during the ninth play of the drive for a 10-yard touchdown and 17-14 lead.
Blount broke several tackles for a 27-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. After a facemask call put the Bucs at the one-yard line, Kellen Winslow was called for offensive pass interference on a would-be TD catch, backing Tampa up to the 12-yard line.
The Bucs settled for Barth's 30-yard field goal to tie the game at 17.
"Scoring a touchdown would have been huge," Freeman said. "We had plenty of opportunities we missed."
The Lions scored on their second possession of the game, marching 68 yards on seven plays. Nate Burleson scored on a relentless 10-yard touchdown catch, grabbing the ball at the five-yard line and pushing past E.J. Biggers. During the drive, Detroit had a healthy mix of run and pass plays highlighted by Johnson's 20-yard catch.
The Bucs came right back with a touchdown drive when Freeman found Williams in the end zone from 24 yards -- Williams finished with six catches for 96 yards during the series. The play was set up by a short pass to Arrelious Benn on a 4th-and-2 conversion from the 37 yard line.
Following a Detroit punt with 8:26 left in the first half, Blount rumbled 39 yards for a touchdown and the Bucs' first lead of the game, 14-7.
Rayner made it a 14-10 game at the break with a 41-yard field goal. The Lions squandered their chances for more points when a holding call inside the 10- yard line pushed them to back them to the 23.
The Lions hold a 28-25 edge in the all-time regular-season series...Detroit's last road win came in Chicago, 16-7, on October 28, 2007...It was the Bucs' first loss of the season that has been decided by three points or fewer. They had been 5-0... Johnson eclipsed 1,000-yard mark for receiving... Stanton headed to the locker room early for halftime cradling his left hand, but he was able to return.
12/19 18:47:53 ET